Each contestant in the Hero Dog Awards is required to select a charity partner that has been assigned to their entry category, when they submit their nomination. Organizations must go through an application process in order to become a charity partner, and the charity partners are not necessarily the organizations that certify the dogs they are partnered with.

American Humane will donate $2,500 to the charity partner of the winning finalist in each category, and the 2018 American Hero Dog will win an additional $5,000 for their charity partner. If you are interested in becoming a 2018 Hero Dog Awards charity partner, contact us at info@herodogawards.org. We will respond to your email as soon as we can.

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Website: Petpartners.org
Pet Partners is the nation’s largest and most prestigious nonprofit registering handlers of multiple species as volunteer teams providing Animal-Assisted Interactions. With the highest caliber curriculum in the industry, Pet Partners trains volunteers and evaluates them with their pets for visiting animal programs in hospitals, nursing homes, veterans’ centers, hospice, Alzheimer’s facilities, courtrooms, schools and other settings. We offer our teams superior risk management and the industry’s highest safety standards, continuing education and re-registration and keen attention to dealing with our unique multi-species team population.

Website: handinpaw.org

The gentle touch of a furry friend comforts those who are in need – this is Hand in Paw.

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Website: http://www.pawsforpeople.org/
PAWS for People™ (Pet-Assisted Visitation Volunteer Services, or PAWS) is a nonprofit organization committed to providing therapeutic visits to any person in the community who would benefit from interaction with a well-trained, loving pet. What makes PAWS for People stand above other pet therapy services is the emphasis we place on providing individualized therapeutic experiences for every person we visit. Our strict standards in training and testing dogs and cats make sure every therapy team is capable of meeting the various needs of our diverse clientele. PAWS is most active throughout Delaware, but also serves areas in southern Pennsylvania, northeast Maryland, and southern NJ, and visits people of all ages, ethnicities and income levels.

Website: https://attitudesinreverse.org/
Attitudes In Reverse’s mission is to provide unlimited mental health awareness and suicide prevention programs to youth and young adults regardless of ability to pay. Inspire hope for those suffering from mental pain so they seek assistance while instilling empathy and understanding of mental health disorders throughout society.

Website: http://therapyanimalcoalition.org/
The mission of Therapy Animal Coalition, Inc. is to help grow the number of therapy animal teams volunteering in therapeutic, educational, and other special environments. ​To accomplish this, we will: * Educate the public on how to become a therapy animal team, * Facilitate volunteer opportunities for registered teams, and * Assist facilities and organizations to start therapy animal programs. Our goal is to provide resources to share the healing love of pets.


Website: www.assistancedogsinternational.org

Assistance Dogs International (ADI) is a coalition of not for profit assistance dog organizations. The purpose of ADI is to:

  • improve the training, placement, and utilization of assistance dogs
  • improve staff and volunteer education
  • educate the public about assistance dogs,
  • advocate for the legal rights of people with disabilities partnered with assistance dogs.

Website: http://www.1pet1vet.com/

At 1Pet1Vet, our mission is to save lives of United States veterans through the connection, love, and support of specially trained dogs. Our programs provide veterans affected by combat-acquired PTSD with the guidance and tools they need to help train their own, carefully selected, service dogs. By including the veteran in their canine partner’s training, a deeper bond between the veteran and the dog is established, enabling the veteran to become a part of their own recovery. 

Website: http://www.pawsandstripes.org

Paws and Stripes provides service dogs, which are rescued from local shelters, for wounded military veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. We provide a curriculum of care, including service animal training, mental health resources and peer support as they personally train their service animal, with the assistance of our trainers free of charge to the veterans.

Website: http://alphabravocanine.org/

Alpha Bravo Canine, a non-profit (501c3) organization, teams trained service dogs with US veterans suffering from debilitating medical and psychological problems as a result of their active combat duty at no charge to the veteran. Alpha Bravo Canine was founded by a mother and son team to help the local community of veterans. Jennifer Green, CPDT-KA is a certified dog trainer and Army wife, and her son Kevin Daly, USMC was deployed to Afghanistan twice with the 1st Battalion 8th Marine Regiment. Upon Kevin’s return home, they decided to combine their knowledge and experience of dog training and post deployment struggles to tackle these growing problems, and help to lower the suicide rates of US veterans by providing emotional and physical support with trained service dogs.

Website: www.givingindependence.org

Paws Giving Independence [PGI], is an all-volunteer organization that rescues dogs from shelters and trains them in becoming service dogs to assist children and adults with disabilities. We are proud to continue to be one of the few service dog organizations that places their dogs FREE OF CHARGE to the recipient and we strive to provide as much independence as possible for the recipients. Our motto is: Saving a life, to change a life. 

Emerging Hero

Website: https://secondhandhounds.org/

Secondhand Hounds is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit animal rescue in Minnesota. Founded in July of 2009, our many volunteers have made a positive impact on the lives of many dogs and cats in our community. Our organization provides safe shelter, proper veterinary care and daily necessities for animals at risk, while working hard to find each a permanent, loving home!
Secondhand Hounds rescues dogs from kill shelters around the Midwest and from owners who can no longer provide care for their dogs. We rescue cats from local shelters and owners who can no longer provide care for their cats.

Website: www.dogsondeployment.org

Dogs on Deployment (DoD) is an all-volunteer, national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing critical resources to support United States service members and their pets by providing a much-needed connection between individuals and families willing to board pets and military members whose service puts their pets at risk of abandonment. DoD offers online resources that help military members find loving, safe foster homes for their animals, allowing them to serve our country with one less worry. DoD exists to help military members keep their pets by alleviating the need for pet relinquishment from military members due to the hardships of deployments.

Website: http://homedogla.org/

The primary reason people surrender pets to a city shelter is due to financial constraints. Home Dog LA is the intervention program at North Central Shelter in Los Angeles, and we offer community based solutions to local residents to help them and their pets through difficult times. The resources we provide include assistance with low cost veterinary care, spay/neuter, dog training, pet food, collars and leashes, fence repair, return to owner fees and access to pro bono tenant rights lawyers. We believe that every family deserves to keep their beloved pet, even in tough times.

Website: pilotsnpaws.org/

Pilots N Paws is a registered 501c3 charity that connects rescue animals with private pilots willing to provide free transport to save their lives. Since starting in 2008 their 5,300 pilots have rescued well over 100,000 animals including dogs, cats, pigs, birds, reptiles, and rabbits.

Website: Link

Gunnar’s Wheels strives to provide donations of wheel carts and other needed mobility supplies to handicapped dogs in need.

Website: www.fresnobullyrescue.org

Fresno Bully Rescue no-kill rescue/shelter dedicated to rescuing bully breed dogs (i.e. American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Bull Dogs, Bull Terriers, etc.). We are one of the only breed-specific, no-kill rescues with an actual kennel-facility in California. Besides rescuing and adopting, FBR is also committed to providing educational services in the community, micro-chipping, and promoting spaying and neutering and responsible ownerships of the bully breeds. In addition, FBR is committed to promoting responsible ownership of bully breeds, fighting against breed discrimination, spaying and neutering pets, reporting dog fighting, and demonstrating to the community that bully breeds are loyal, loving, and wonderful forever companions.

Website: www.freewaysgreytescape.com

Freeway’s Greyt Escape, Inc. was established with its sole purpose to help with the initial emergency medical assistance to injured racing greyhounds, surrendered to non profit rescue/adoption organizations. By doing so, a greyhound that would have otherwise been euthanized now has a chance at full recovery from his/her injuries and can be adopted by a loving family. With our financial assistance, non-profit greyhound rescue/adoption organizations will be able to meet the financial obligations within their organization to have immediate medical attention and/or surgery given to a surrendered (retired) injured racing greyhound.

Website: earlshoperescue.org/

EARL’S Hope Rescue (Extraordinary Animals Rescued, Loved, and Secure) was founded with a mission to save animals in Georgia that have little or no hope of a future.  EARL’S works with county shelters, many with euthanasia rates over 90%, to rescue animals in need, provide medical attention, foster and care, and then secure transport to New England where they all find their forever homes and happily ever afters. 

Website: www.goatlandia.org

Goatlandia is an animal sanctuary that rescues farm animals and educates the public about the choice for a compassionate lifestyle. In addition to providing a safe and loving forever home to our own feathered and furry family, we also place our rescued animal friends into other loving homes through our adoption program. We do all kind of events both here at the sanctuary and out in the community, and we create opportunities for people and animals to have fun together and inspire love.

Website: petsforpatriots.org

Pets for Patriots is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to companion pet adoption for United States military veterans. Our program is available to veterans at any stage of their careers and from all armed forces, and we are proud to serve veterans from WWII up to and including active duty personnel. Through companion pet adoption we help men and women returning from war with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, deploying troops trying to fill the void of their absence, and veterans who are lonely or depressed. At the same time we save adult and senior pets, victims of animal abuse, pets with disabilities or chronic medical conditions, and larger dogs – those animals most overlooked for adoption. To help these loving, healing bonds endure, we provide a range of benefits to make pet parenthood more affordable for the men and women who defend our freedom. Pets for Patriots provides the most extraordinary service of all: love.

Website: http://www.gchscc.org/

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter that houses and cares for hundreds of adoptable dogs and cats.  Since our beginning, we have been dedicated to providing the best care possible to the animals under our roof. Our mission is to save lives one at a time, and to place homeless animals into loving homes. We strive to promote responsible pet parenting and the humane treatment of all animals.

Guide / Hearing

Website: dogsforbetterlives.org/

Dogs for Better Lives (formerly Dogs for the Deaf) is an award-winning national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focusing on the training and placing of Hearing Assistance Dogs, Program Assistance Dogs, and Autism Assistance Dogs. In fiscal year 2016-17, Dogs for Better Lives placed 82 dogs nationally, of which 20 were Hearing Dogs. In 2017, Dogs for Better Lives was awarded the coveted Excellence in Business Award – Nonprofit Sector, from southern Oregon’s Chamber of Medford/Jackson County. Accredited by Assistance Dogs International (ADI) and recognized by Charity Navigator as a 4-star nonprofit, Dogs for Better Lives has been rescuing dogs, bettering lives, and providing Assistance Dogs since 1977. Dogs for Better Lives, our name is our promise.

Website: freedomguidedogs.org/

Freedom’s mission is to provide guide dogs, without cost, to blind and visually impaired people, some with disabilities beyond blindness. We currently place dogs in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and along the East coast as far south as Florida. Founded in 1992, we breed, raise and train guide dogs at our facility in upstate New York. We currently use mostly Labradors, but also have placed Smooth Collies, Standard Poodles and American White Shepherds. We find that we are able to more closely match client needs by using multiple breeds. Through our Hometown Training (TM) Program, we train each blind recipient individually, at home in the community where he or she lives, on the streets they travel every day. Our Hometown Training Program enables us to place dogs with many blind people who would otherwise not be able to travel to and stay at the school to train with a dog.

Website: www.guidingeyes.org/

Guiding Eyes for the Blind is dedicated to creating and supporting life-changing connections between people and dogs. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides superbly bred and trained guide dogs to people who are blind or visually impaired. Our dogs are known for their exceptional temperaments and success at helping people gain independence and expand their horizons of opportunity. All of our services are offered free of charge to the people and families who need them. Since our founding by Donald Kauth in 1954, we have graduated over 7,000 guide dog teams.

Law Enforcement / Arson

Website: www.throwawaydogsproject.com

Throw Away Dogs RESCUES, REHABILITATES and RELOCATES thrown away dogs so they can have a purpose to be HONORED, RESPECTED & TRUSTED as Police K9 working dogs. Making rescue dogs into working K9 police dogs…it can be done!

Website: http://k9s4cops.org/

K9s4COPs is a nonprofit foundation whose mission is to build a safer future by placing trained K9 officers in law enforcement agencies, school districts and college campuses. K9s cost between $15,000-$45,000 per dog, and most agencies struggle when budgeting for the purchase of a K9. K9s4COPs was founded to bridge this gap and ensure that K9 cost never keeps an Officer from having their K9 partner.

Website: http://www.herok9.org

Hero K9 was founded to resolve challenges faced by public safety agencies — law enforcement, search and rescue, and fire departments — across our nation by providing K9s, training, and equipment so they are better able to make a positive difference in our communities. Their service to our neighborhoods is irreplaceable. Through our mission, we support our national communities and make a difference, each and every day. Equipment grants are available to public safety agencies for their K9 program(s) for K9 medical kits, ballistic and multi-threat vests, door pop & heat alarm systems, and in-squad kennels. 

Website: ProjectPawsAlive.org

Project Paws Alive, Inc. is a nationwide 501(c)3 non-profit charity that is 100% volunteer based and our mission is to provide vital K9 equipment such as stab & bullet protective vests and first aid field trauma kits to law enforcement, fire, search & rescue, and military K-9s throughout the United States. We rely solely on donations to provide this lifesaving equipment to underfunded agencies. All donations are tax-deductible. To donate, volunteer, or obtain more information about Project Paws Alive please visit http://www.ProjectPawsAlive.org

Website: www.n-sda.org

The National Search Dog Alliance is a 501(c)(3) of all volunteers providing education, testing and a national level of certification for K-9 handlers in all parts of the country to better enable them to save lives in their communities.

Website: www.SearchDogFoundation.org

Founded in 1996, the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation’s (SDF) mission is to strengthen disaster response in America by rescuing and recruiting dogs and partnering them with firefighters and other first responders to find people buried alive in the wreckage of disasters. Based at our National Training Center in Santa Paula, CA, the first-of-its-kind designed specifically for the training of disaster search dogs, we offer the professionally trained canines and an ongoing training program at no cost to fire departments. And we ensure lifetime care for every dog in our program: once rescued, these dogs never need to be rescued again. There are currently 67 SDF-trained Search Teams located in Baja California, California, Florida, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. Thanks to Mutual Aid Agreements between counties, cities and states, these precious, life-saving resources can be shared nationally and internationally to make sure that when disaster strikes, no one is left behind.


Website: https://www.facebook.com/SDGunner/

The SD Gunner Fund was created to assist Veterans and disabled children with the financial expense of owning much needed service animals. Service Animals require a variety of necessary items in order to perform their service. Those items can include but are not limited to: vests, custom harnesses, other assistance items, veterinary visits, and more.